The courts are finally wisening up

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Growing resistance against Stalingrad legal defence – Prof Pierre de Vos.


The battle to remove South Africa’s Public Protector, Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane, took four years and consumed more than R160 million of taxpayers’ money, with her legal defence bent on dragging out the case and delaying her removal, employing every unethical and ethical legal tactic to avoid being held accountable. This tactic, known as the Stalingrad defence, has also been repeatedly employed by former President Jacob Zuma’s legal team to evade accountability. However, recently, this type of litigation suffered significant blows: President Zuma lost his private prosecution case against Advocate Billy Downer, and News24 journalist Karyn Maughan, and Advocate Mkhwebane was finally removed from her position as Public Protector. In an interview with BizNews, Constitutional law lecturer Pierre de Vos said that the Stalingrad defence strategy raises broader questions about South Africa’s legal system and the need for reforms to prevent the abuse of procedural rules in court cases. De Vos added that this tactic is not limited to the political field; it is a broader problem in the private sector where big companies and individuals with deep pockets undermine justice. Nevertheless, De Vos expressed optimism noting a shift in South African courts’ approach, indicating growing resistance against the Stalingrad defence. He said in recent court cases lawyers have been ordered to cover the cost of delays.  – Linda van Tilburg


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